Advertising
Advertising

10 Mistakes Happy People Never Make

10 Mistakes Happy People Never Make

Have you noticed that small, nagging voice in your head that does most of the talking? It is like a hotel guest that forgot to check out. I call it the “mini-me”.

In my case, I’d do a superb job with a client, or at writing a book, and the mini-me would still be unsatisfied. It would find reasons why the success won’t last and why it is not much of a big deal.

A while ago, I realized it was high-time I asked the nagger to shut up!

After all, it’s your mind, it’s your life and it’s your happiness that is at stake here. The more you give in to the mini-me, the more you move away from experiencing life to the fullest.

Happy people seem to get that. They practice a few things, whether consciously or unconsciously. They also avoid certain things like the plague, such as:

Advertising

1. Focusing only on your mini-me

Happy, positive people don’t pay a whole lot of attention to their mini-me. Your job is to convert your mini-me into your best friend – and until it becomes one, you say, “Thank you, but I am fine,” and ignore the rest of the chatter.

Focus on what your mini-me is not saying. Focus on the achievements and happy moments of your life. You know the saying, “What you focus on is what you get”. It’s time to put the saying to the test.

2. Putting a dollar amount on success

If you define your success with money, you will find that the amount you earn is never enough. There is always more to be earned. Instead, happy people equate their success with satisfaction and happiness in life.

If you are happy making a thousand dollars a month because it satisfies all your needs, then be happy. Don’t stop yourself because someone else told you a thousand dollars is not enough. Tune into yourself and ask whether you need more; if yes, strive for it. But not at the cost of your own happiness!

3. Always living in the future

In his book The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle stresses the importance of being present. The present is the only time you have right now. It is the only tangible experience for you. The past is in your memories and the future is yet to come.

Advertising

Happy people focus on the small things today that will become big successes tomorrow. Seize the day because today will never happen again.

4. Forgetting the magic word

We are a funny species. We forget what is while we focus on what is not. To remind yourself of the small things that bring happiness in your life, keep a gratitude journal. Say, “Thank you,” to the Universe, Source, God (or whatever you call it). Psychological research suggests we are happy when we are grateful for what we already have.

To ‘prove’ this, try writing down three things that went well during a day. Keep doing this for a week, every night, with a causal explanation of why you are grateful for that experience. Notice how you feel after each exercise. In an experiment in 2005, different groups of participants were asked to do the same. At the one-month follow up meeting, the people who used this exercise were happier and less depressed than they had been at the prior meeting. They continued the exercise and stayed happier in the future follow-ups.

5. Dreaming small

Somehow, we are conditioned to dream small. We are told to be careful of the challenges life throws our way. Successful people don’t limit their dreams – they dare to dream BIG.

That said, they also have a series of smaller, more immediate steps that will bring them to realize this goal. Having a bigger vision is important, but a step-by-step formula makes it more possible.

Advertising

6. Keeping goals and dreams a secret

Happy people love the concept of a mastermind where people share their challenges and come up with a list of solutions, or brainstorm ideas, using the group’s synergy.

7. Speaking ill of others

It may be tempting to gossip about others behind their back, but when you talk negatively, you take in the negative energy yourself.

Think about the last time you spoke (or thought) badly of someone behind their back. How did you feel afterwards? Not overly enthusiastic, for sure. Instead, focus on others’ strengths and positive habits and highlight what makes them special.

8. Not living in alignment with your values

Alignment with your values is an emotional state you want to feel on a regular basis. For example, your top values could be love, honesty, integrity and success. Make a list of your top ten values and then on the other side of the paper, write down how you are meeting these values in different areas of your life.

Now, write down all areas where your values are not being met. You have discovered the loopholes. What can you do to change that? (For a full list of values, go here.)

Advertising

9. Not accepting what cannot be changed

Happy people are adaptable – they easily adjust themselves to accept what is not possible. If you’re unhappy about something, notice how your ego holds onto it and won’t let go of the fact that you cannot change it.

This brings more pain that has especially to do with trying to control others or external situations. The person you can change the easiest is you. Happy people get that and bring their energy to what can be controlled – that is, they themselves.

10. Holding grudges

The more you focus on how someone hurt you last year by making a mean statement, the more you will hold on to anger, negativity and resentment. All these take a whole lot of your energy for nothing in return.

Perhaps the other person feels miserable, too. Perhaps they are holding a grudge against you. No one is happy that way. To forgive and forget is hard but pays well in the long run. You will be free from the shackles of the negative bond, and you have more room for better experiences in your life.

What other habit would you add to the list of mistakes that happy people never make? Share with us in the comments below!

More by this author

Resume tools 4 Easy Resume Tools to Breathe Life into Your Resume and Boost Your Chances of Getting Hired starting your own business 10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting an Online Business Resume Rejected Was Your Resume Rejected? Here’s What to Do Next 3 Things To Do If You Fear A 3-Step Process to Overcome Fear save money 5 Quick and Dirty Hacks to Save Money in 2014

Trending in Communication

1 5 Real Relationship Goals You Should Actually Strive Toward 2 When You Learn A Second Language, These 7 Amazing Things Will Happen To You 3 15 Things To Stop Doing If You Want To Be Truly Happy 4 7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language 5 How to Apologize When You Have Made a Mistake

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

Advertising

1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

Advertising

3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

Advertising

It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

Advertising

Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next